Kansas City Zoological Park (Kansas City Zoo) is the 10th largest zoo in the United States. It is located in Swope Park at 6800 Zoo Drive Kansas City, Missouri.
Planning for the zoo started in 1907, and its gates opened on December 13, 1909. The zoo evolved slowly during its first 40 years, while it added exhibits such as the Bear Pit in 1912. It gained more momentum when it added Monkey Island (1945), Children's Zoo 'Touchdown' (1948), Sea Lion Pool (1951), African Veldt (1954), Giraffe House (1955), and Flamingos (1957). In 1959, the Friends of the Zoo program began. The zoo added an Otter Pool (1961), Elephant House (1962), Great Ape House (1966), Dairy Barn (1971), Great Catwalk (1972), and Gibbon Islands (1973). In 1991, after voting and financed from a grant, the zoo expanded to the current size of 202-acres adding Australia (1993), International Festival (1994), and Africa (1995). Opening of the Africa section drew in approximately 40,000 visitors in first 2 days. A new building was added for the first IMAX in a zoo.
The improvements resulted in record attendance of 700,000 zoo guests, and 400,000 IMAX visitors, in 1998. The zoo has grown from a small building and 60-acres to a large, 202-acre zoo with over 1,300 animals. The new Orangutan Primadome opened in 2002 as a part of new management. A 20-year plan plots the zoo's future, including new improvements. The Discovery Barn opened in 2006.
The Botswana section contains African Elephants in a 4 and a half acre exhibit with a water pool at one end. The elephants do paintings and demos during weekends. The Kansas City Zoo was also chosen out several zoos to be one of a few zoos for elephant breeding, as well as baboon breeding.
At the time of her death, 49 year old Tanzy was the second oldest African elephant in North America. She had a history of aggression with the Abilene Zoo's other elephant Tanya. Tanzy had been transferred to the zoo in Texas from Oklahoma City be a companion animal for Tanya, two months before the Oklahoma City Zoo purchased half sisters Asha and Chandra from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri. Tanya was kept as a single elephant after Connie was relocated to the Springfield zoo as part of a building breeding program. Two months after Tanzy's death, Tanya was transferred to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, to replace Zoe. In October 2007, Zoe was transferred to the Kansas City Zoo under breeding loan arrangements, a Missouri zoo which held the largest herd of African elephants within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.